RACINE — Following a unanimous vote, the Boone County Ambulance Authority fired its director Randy Lengyel.
“We understood this is someone’s employment, but we must do the right thing,” said Kevin Hill, a B.C.A.A. board member. “We took time to make the right decision.”
Lengyel and the board’s former president and vice president came under fire after the authority gave the director a $103,000 loan, which turned out to be illegal and unethical.
Lengyel paid back the loan and Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Keith Randolph dropped pursuing criminal charges. However, it didn’t keep the new and old, current board members from voting unanimously to terminate Lengyel’s job.
The Boone County Ambulance Authority made several decisions during its regular session meeting on Thursday evening at its headquarters in Racine.
The board announced at its last meeting its president Harold Green had submitted a letter of resignation to the Boone County Commission, which was accepted. The board announced former vice president Joe Gollie, who had stepped in the president’s position after Green left, also submitted a letter of resignation, which was unanimously accepted by the new board.
Bryan Justice, a 25 year veteran paramedic, was voted by the board to be the agency’s interim director at its last meeting and has been serving in that capacity until the board’s personnel committee recommends a candidate after going through the hiring process.
“I just want to create a family atmosphere here,” Justice said when he was appointed. “I will go to bat for them, we are going to do the very best that we can do while I’m in the interim spot.”
Justice gave a report to the board that had many recommendations to save the ambulance authority money.
Justice says the agency’s cell phone bill can be cut, which is currently $1,736 a month. He also recommended not using the GPS tracking on each ambulance until or unless they can be connected to the county’s 911 emergency services system.
“I also recommend we change from the Exxon card to the State P card for fleet fuel purchases,” Justice said.
Justice also spoke about several other issues facing the ambulance authority and recommended the board’s new president Josh Barker attend a scheduled meeting the the agency’s billing company.
Barker continued to say the board’s top priority must be earning back the trust of employees, the community and making sure the ambulance levy passes.
“If we earn the trust of our employees we will earn the trust of our citizens. That’s got to be number one and we’ve got a long road to haul,” Barker said. “We have made big changes and taken vast step forward. We will continue to do what’s best for the community and the employees of this authority.”
Barker and the board authorized the authority’s attorney to write a letter to the Boone County Commission to recommend not giving support for a new private ambulance company wanting to set up an ambulance business in Boone County.
Justice agreed with Barker saying the new company may want levy monies and also confuse residents about where their ambulance service and paramedics are coming from.
“I truly believe this would not be in the best interests of the people of Boone County,” Justice said.
The Boone County Ambulance Authority’s next scheduled meeting will take place starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17.
Fred Pace is an editor for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165, ext. 1661, in Madison; at 304-752-6950, ext. 1729 in Logan; by email at [email protected] or @fcpace62 on Twitter.